Best Vertical Monitor 2020

Best Vertical Monitor 2020

Best Vertical Monitor 2020 – Quick List:

  1. Dell UltraSharp U2518D Vertical Monitor – Best Vertical Monitor 2020 (Best Overall)
  2. ASUS VN279QL Vertical Monitor – Best Vertical Monitor 2020 (Best Value)
  3. Samsung Business SR650 Vertical Monitor – Best Vertical Monitor 2020 (Best for Work)
  4. Alienware AW2518Hf 240Hz Vertical Monitor – Best Vertical Monitor 2020 (Best for Gaming)

Best Vertical Monitor 2020

Welcome to the wtg buying guide for the Best Vertical Monitor 2020. We’ve compiled a list of the best vertical monitors with various strengths and attributes such as: screen size, screen resolution, and cost. A vertical monitor (or rotatable monitor) is becoming more and more useful in a time where working from home may be essential.

Vertical Monitor Benefits

A vertical monitor allows you to physically view your screen in a portrait mode instead of a traditional landscape mode. You’ll be able to fit considerably more content (vertically) on the screen. For example, a vertical monitor can drastically improve experiences for designing vertical (portrait) layouts, examining large sections of code, reading an ebook, viewing search engine results, browsing an online article, and more.

Best Vertical Monitor 2020 – In-Depth List:

Dell UltraSharp U2518D Vertical Monitor

Best Vertical Monitor 2020 (Best Overall)

This Dell Ultrasharp is not only one of best Dell monitors available, we also consider it the “Best Overall” vertical monitor of any brand. This vertical monitor features a high resolution screen that is exceptionally sharp and bright when it comes to displaying visuals (as you would expect from the name).

This is our Best Overall pick for the Best Vertical Monitor 2020

Best Vertical Monitor 2020 (Overall)

The screen is good sized, professional grade, and it’s incredibly versatile for just about every application from business to gaming. The highly adjustable stand is stylish and effortlessly maneuvers from landscape to portrait. The pricing is affordable for most buyers, and is worth every penny.

These monitors are currently in high demand and limited in stock. If you are serious about purchasing a high quality vertical monitor, you should obtain the Dell Ultrasharp while it’s still available.


ASUS VN279QL Vertical Monitor

Best Vertical Monitor 2020
Best Vertical Monitor 2020 (Best Value)

This ASUS vertical monitor provides high definition viewing with a good assortment of adjustment and display ports. The affordable pricing and VESA mounting capability make it ideal for a dual monitor setup.

This is our Best Value pick for the Best Vertical Monitor 2020

One of the main features is the ergonomically designed 4-Way stand that allows you to tilt, swivel, pivot, and switch from landscape (horizontal) to portrait (vertical) . The ASUS VN279QL additionally provides clarity to the display by utilizing ASUS VividPixel Technology.

The most compelling aspect of this vertical monitor is the value. It’s considerably lower priced for what you get.


Samsung Business SR650 Vertical Monitor

Best Vertical Monitor 2020
Best Vertical Monitor 2020 (Best for Work)

If you want to utilize a vertical monitor for practical applications and increase productivity, you should seriously consider the Samsung SR650.

This is our Best for Work pick for the Best Vertical Monitor 2020

The Samsung SR650 has multiple ports for connectivity including HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, and a built-in USB hub featuring USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. It also has a stylish and modern design, with minimal bezels surrounding the display.

The SR650 also has a great stand, with a strong metal body and various levels of adjustability — you can rotate the screen 90 degrees to use in portrait mode, adjust the height up and down, and tilt and swivel to your desired setup.


Alienware AW2518Hf 240Hz Vertical Monitor

Best Vertical Monitor 2020
Best Vertical Monitor 2020 (Best for Gaming)

The Alienware AW2518Hf is easily our most recommended vertical monitor for gaming, especially when it’s currently on sale. The 240Hz and 1ms response time will give you an incredible edge over your competition considering most monitors range from 60-75Hz. You literally can see and respond to the action more quickly (and smoothly) than your competitor.

This is our Best for Gaming pick for the Best Vertical Monitor 2020

The Alienware is very well equipped with gaming functions such as AMD FreeSync and Flicker-Free technology for seamless gaming. For those who are concerned about brightness, the monitor possesses 400-nits maximum intensity for viewing in daylight.

The modern stand offers swivel, tilt, height, and pivot configurations that includes portrait & landscape modes. This compact, yet powerful beast does everything.


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computer monitor is an output device that displays information in pictorial form.

vertical monitor

A monitor usually comprises the display devicecircuitry, casing, and power supply.

vertical monitor

The display device in modern monitors is typically a thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) with LED backlighting having replaced cold-cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) backlighting.

vertical monitor

Older monitors used a cathode ray tube (CRT). Monitors are connected to the computer via VGADigital Visual Interface (DVI), HDMIDisplayPortThunderboltlow-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) or other proprietary connectors and signals.

best vertical monitor

Originally, computer monitors were used for data processing while television sets were used for entertainment.

vertical monitor

From the 1980s onwards, computers (and their monitors) have been used for both data processing and entertainment, while televisions have implemented some computer functionality.

vertical monitor

The common aspect ratio of televisions, and computer monitors, has changed from 4:3 to 16:10, to 16:9.

vertical monitors

Modern computer monitors are easily interchangeable with conventional television sets. However, as computer monitors do not necessarily include integrated speakers, it may not be possible to use a computer monitor without external components.[1]

portrait monitor

Early electronic computers were fitted with a panel of light bulbs where the state of each particular bulb would indicate the on/off state of a particular register bit inside the computer. This allowed the engineers operating the computer to monitor the internal state of the machine, so this panel of lights came to be known as the ‘monitor’. As early monitors were only capable of displaying a very limited amount of information and were very transient, they were rarely considered for program output. Instead, a line printer was the primary output device, while the monitor was limited to keeping track of the program’s operation.[citation needed]

best monitor for vertical use

As technology developed engineers realized that the output of a CRT display was more flexible than a panel of light bulbs and eventually, by giving control of what was displayed in the program itself, the monitor itself became a powerful output device in its own right.[citation needed]

vertical monitor

Computer monitors were formerly known as visual display units (VDU), but this term had mostly fallen out of use by the 1990s.

rotating monitor

The first computer monitors used cathode ray tubes (CRTs). Prior to the advent of home computers in the late 1970s, it was common for a video display terminal (VDT) using a CRT to be physically integrated with a keyboard and other components of the system in a single large chassis. The display was monochrome and far less sharp and detailed than on a modern flat-panel monitor, necessitating the use of relatively large text and severely limiting the amount of information that could be displayed at one time. High-resolution CRT displays were developed for the specialized military, industrial and scientific applications but they were far too costly for general use.

vertical computer monitor

Some of the earliest home computers (such as the TRS-80 and Commodore PET) were limited to monochrome CRT displays, but color display capability was already a standard feature of the pioneering Apple II, introduced in 1977, and the specialty of the more graphically sophisticated Atari 800, introduced in 1979. Either computer could be connected to the antenna terminals of an ordinary color TV set or used with a purpose-made CRT color monitor for optimum resolution and color quality. Lagging several years behind, in 1981 IBM introduced the Color Graphics Adapter, which could display four colors with a resolution of 320 x 200 pixels, or it could produce 640 x 200 pixels with two colors. In 1984 IBM introduced the Enhanced Graphics Adapter which was capable of producing 16 colors and had a resolution of 640 x 350.[2]

monitor vertical

By the end of the 1980s color CRT monitors that could clearly display 1024 x 768 pixels were widely available and increasingly affordable. During the following decade, maximum display resolutions gradually increased and prices continued to fall. CRT technology remained dominant in the PC monitor market into the new millennium partly because it was cheaper to produce and offered to view angles close to 180 degrees.[3] CRTs still offer some image quality advantages[clarification needed] over LCDs but improvements to the latter have made them much less obvious. The dynamic range of early LCD panels was very poor, and although text and other motionless graphics were sharper than on a CRT, an LCD characteristic known as pixel lag caused moving graphics to appear noticeably smeared and blurry.

best vertical monitor 2020

There are multiple technologies that have been used to implement liquid crystal displays (LCD). Throughout the 1990s, the primary use of LCD technology as computer monitors was in laptops where the lower power consumption, lighter weight, and smaller physical size of LCDs justified the higher price versus a CRT. Commonly, the same laptop would be offered with an assortment of display options at increasing price points: (active or passive) monochrome, passive color, or active matrix color (TFT). As volume and manufacturing capability have improved, the monochrome and passive color technologies were dropped from most product lines.

best vertical monitor 2020

TFT-LCD is a variant of LCD which is now the dominant technology used for computer monitors.[4]

best vertical monitor 2020

The first standalone LCDs appeared in the mid-1990s selling for high prices. As prices declined over a period of years they became more popular, and by 1997 were competing with CRT monitors. Among the first desktop LCD computer monitors was the Eizo L66 in the mid-1990s, the Apple Studio Display in 1998, and the Apple Cinema Display in 1999. In 2003, TFT-LCDs outsold CRTs for the first time, becoming the primary technology used for computer monitors.[3] The main advantages of LCDs over CRT displays are that LCDs consume less power, take up much less space, and are considerably lighter. The now common active matrix TFT-LCD technology also has less flickering than CRTs, which reduces eye strain.[5] On the other hand, CRT monitors have superior contrast, have a superior response time, are able to use multiple screen resolutions natively, and there is no discernible flicker if the refresh rate[6] is set to a sufficiently high value. LCD monitors have now very high temporal accuracy and can be used for vision research.[7]

best vertical monitors 2020

High dynamic range (HDR)[6] has been implemented into high-end LCD monitors to improve color accuracy. Since around the late 2000s, widescreen LCD monitors have become popular, in part due to television seriesmotion pictures and video games transitioning to high-definition (HD), which makes standard-width monitors unable to display them correctly as they either stretch or crop HD content. These types of monitors may also display it in the proper width, however they usually fill the extra space at the top and bottom of the image with black bars. Other advantages of widescreen monitors over standard-width monitors is that they make work more productive by displaying more of a user’s documents and images, and allow displaying toolbars with documents. They also have a larger viewing area, with a typical widescreen monitor having a 16:9 aspect ratio, compared to the 4:3 aspect ratio of a typical standard-width monitor.

Measurements of performance

The performance of a monitor is measured by the following parameters:

  • Luminance is measured in candelas per square meter (cd/m2 also called a Nit).
  • Color depth is measured in bits per primary color or bits for all colors.
  • Gamut is measured as coordinates in the CIE 1931 color space. The names sRGB or AdobeRGB are shorthand notations.
  • Aspect ratio is the ratio of the horizontal length to the vertical length. Monitors usually have the aspect ratio 4:35:416:10 or 16:9.
  • Viewable image size is usually measured diagonally, but the actual widths and heights are more informative since they are not affected by the aspect ratio in the same way. For CRTs, the viewable size is typically 1 in (25 mm) smaller than the tube itself.
  • Display resolution is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. For a given display size, maximum resolution is limited by dot pitch.
  • Dot pitch is the distance between sub-pixels of the same color in millimeters. In general, the smaller the dot pitch, the sharper the picture will appear.
  • Refresh rate is the number of times in a second that a display is illuminated. Maximum refresh rate is limited by response time.
  • Response time is the time a pixel in a monitor takes to go from active (white) to inactive (black) and back to active (white) again, measured in milliseconds. Lower numbers mean faster transitions and therefore fewer visible image artifacts.
  • Contrast ratio is the ratio of the luminosity of the brightest color (white) to that of the darkest color (black) that the monitor is capable of producing.
  • Power consumption is measured in watts.
  • Delta-E: Color accuracy is measured in delta-E; the lower the delta-E, the more accurate the color representation. A delta-E of below 1 is imperceptible to the human eye. Delta-Es of 2 to 4 are considered good and require a sensitive eye to spot the difference.
  • Viewing angle is the maximum angle at which images on the monitor can be viewed, without excessive degradation to the image. It is measured in degrees horizontally and vertically.best vertical monitor 2020
  • On two-dimensional display devices such as computer monitors the display size or view able image size is the actual amount of screen space that is available to display a picturevideo or working space, without obstruction from the case or other aspects of the unit’s design. The main measurements for display devices are: width, height, total area and the diagonal.

best vertical monitor 2020

The size of a display is usually by monitor manufacturers given by the diagonal, i.e. the distance between two opposite screen corners. This method of measurement is inherited from the method used for the first generation of CRT television, when picture tubes with circular faces were in common use. Being circular, it was the external diameter of the glass envelope that described their size. Since these circular tubes were used to display rectangular images, the diagonal measurement of the rectangular image was smaller than the diameter of the tube’s face (due to the thickness of the glass). This method continued even when cathode ray tubes were manufactured as rounded rectangles; it had the advantage of being a single number specifying the size, and was not confusing when the aspect ratio was universally 4:3.

best vertical monitor 2020

With the introduction of flat panel technology, the diagonal measurement became the actual diagonal of the visible display. This meant that an eighteen-inch LCD had a larger visible area than an eighteen-inch cathode ray tube.

best vertical monitor 2020

The estimation of the monitor size by the distance between opposite corners does not take into account the display aspect ratio, so that for example a 16:9 21-inch (53 cm) widescreen display has less area, than a 21-inch (53 cm) 4:3 screen. The 4:3 screen has dimensions of 16.8 in × 12.6 in (43 cm × 32 cm) and area 211 sq in (1,360 cm2), while the widescreen is 18.3 in × 10.3 in (46 cm × 26 cm), 188 sq in (1,210 cm2).

best vertical monitor 2020

computer monitor is an output device that displays information in pictorial form. A monitor usually comprises the display devicecircuitry, casing, and power supply. The display device in modern monitors is typically a thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) with LED backlighting having replaced cold-cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) backlighting. Older monitors used a cathode ray tube (CRT). Monitors are connected to the computer via VGADigital Visual Interface (DVI), HDMIDisplayPortThunderboltlow-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) or other proprietary connectors and signals.

best vertical monitors 2020

Originally, computer monitors were used for data processing while television sets were used for entertainment. From the 1980s onwards, computers (and their monitors) have been used for both data processing and entertainment, while televisions have implemented some computer functionality. The common aspect ratio of televisions, and computer monitors, has changed from 4:3 to 16:10, to 16:9.

best vertical monitors 2020

Modern computer monitors are easily interchangeable with conventional television sets. However, as computer monitors do not necessarily include integrated speakers, it may not be possible to use a computer monitor without external components.[1]

best vertical monitor 2020

Early electronic computers were fitted with a panel of light bulbs where the state of each particular bulb would indicate the on/off state of a particular register bit inside the computer. This allowed the engineers operating the computer to monitor the internal state of the machine, so this panel of lights came to be known as the ‘monitor’. As early monitors were only capable of displaying a very limited amount of information and were very transient, they were rarely considered for program output. Instead, a line printer was the primary output device, while the monitor was limited to keeping track of the program’s operation.[citation needed]

best vertical monitor 2020

As technology developed engineers realized that the output of a CRT display was more flexible than a panel of light bulbs and eventually, by giving control of what was displayed in the program itself, the monitor itself became a powerful output device in its own right.[citation needed]

best vertical monitors 2020

Computer monitors were formerly known as visual display units (VDU), but this term had mostly fallen out of use by the 1990s.

best vertical monitors 2020

The first computer monitors used cathode ray tubes (CRTs). Prior to the advent of home computers in the late 1970s, it was common for a video display terminal (VDT) using a CRT to be physically integrated with a keyboard and other components of the system in a single large chassis. The display was monochrome and far less sharp and detailed than on a modern flat-panel monitor, necessitating the use of relatively large text and severely limiting the amount of information that could be displayed at one time. High-resolution CRT displays were developed for the specialized military, industrial and scientific applications but they were far too costly for general use.

best vertical monitor 2020

Some of the earliest home computers (such as the TRS-80 and Commodore PET) were limited to monochrome CRT displays, but color display capability was already a standard feature of the pioneering Apple II, introduced in 1977, and the specialty of the more graphically sophisticated Atari 800, introduced in 1979. Either computer could be connected to the antenna terminals of an ordinary color TV set or used with a purpose-made CRT color monitor for optimum resolution and color quality. Lagging several years behind, in 1981 IBM introduced the Color Graphics Adapter, which could display four colors with a resolution of 320 x 200 pixels, or it could produce 640 x 200 pixels with two colors. In 1984 IBM introduced the Enhanced Graphics Adapter which was capable of producing 16 colors and had a resolution of 640 x 350.[2]

best vertical monitors 2020

By the end of the 1980s color CRT monitors that could clearly display 1024 x 768 pixels were widely available and increasingly affordable. During the following decade, maximum display resolutions gradually increased and prices continued to fall. CRT technology remained dominant in the PC monitor market into the new millennium partly because it was cheaper to produce and offered to view angles close to 180 degrees.[3] CRTs still offer some image quality advantages[clarification needed] over LCDs but improvements to the latter have made them much less obvious. The dynamic range of early LCD panels was very poor, and although text and other motionless graphics were sharper than on a CRT, an LCD characteristic known as pixel lag caused moving graphics to appear noticeably smeared and blurry.

Best Vertical Monitor 2020

Best Vertical Monitor 2020

liquid crystal display (LCD) computer monitor

Best Vertical Monitor 2020

Best Vertical Monitor 2020

cathode-ray tube (CRT) computer monitor

computer monitor is an output device that displays information in pictorial form. A monitor usually comprises the visual displaycircuitry, casing, and power supply. The display device in modern monitors is typically a thin film.

best vertical monitors 2020

There are multiple technologies that have been used to implement liquid crystal displays (LCD). Throughout the 1990s, the primary use of LCD technology as computer monitors was in laptops where the lower power consumption, lighter weight, and smaller physical size of LCDs justified the higher price versus a CRT. Commonly, the same laptop would be offered with an assortment of display options at increasing price points: (active or passive) monochrome, passive color, or active matrix color (TFT). As volume and manufacturing capability have improved, the monochrome and passive color technologies were dropped from most product lines.

best vertical monitors 2020

TFT-LCD is a variant of LCD which is now the dominant technology used for computer monitors.[4]

best vertical monitors 2020

The first standalone LCDs appeared in the mid-1990s selling for high prices. As prices declined over a period of years they became more popular, and by 1997 were competing with CRT monitors. Among the first desktop LCD computer monitors was the Eizo L66 in the mid-1990s, the Apple Studio Display in 1998, and the Apple Cinema Display in 1999. In 2003, TFT-LCDs outsold CRTs for the first time, becoming the primary technology used for computer monitors.[3] The main advantages of LCDs over CRT displays are that LCDs consume less power, take up much less space, and are considerably lighter. The now common active matrix TFT-LCD technology also has less flickering than CRTs, which reduces eye strain.[5] On the other hand, CRT monitors have superior contrast, have a superior response time, are able to use multiple screen resolutions natively, and there is no discernible flicker if the refresh rate[6] is set to a sufficiently high value. LCD monitors have now very high temporal accuracy and can be used for vision research.[7]

best vertical monitors 2020

High dynamic range (HDR)[6] has been implemented into high-end LCD monitors to improve color accuracy. Since around the late 2000s, widescreen LCD monitors have become popular, in part due to television seriesmotion pictures and video games transitioning to high-definition (HD), which makes standard-width monitors unable to display them correctly as they either stretch or crop HD content. These types of monitors may also display it in the proper width, however they usually fill the extra space at the top and bottom of the image with black bars. Other advantages of widescreen monitors over standard-width monitors is that they make work more productive by displaying more of a user’s documents and images, and allow displaying toolbars with documents. They also have a larger viewing area, with a typical widescreen monitor having a 16:9 aspect ratio, compared to the 4:3 aspect ratio of a typical standard-width monitor.

Rotating Monitor

Early electronic computers were fitted with a panel of light bulbs where the state of each particular bulb would indicate the on/off state of a particular register bit inside the computer. This allowed the engineers operating the computer to monitor the internal state of the machine, so this panel of lights came to be known as the ‘monitor’. As early monitors were only capable of displaying a very limited amount of information and were very transient, they were rarely considered for program output. Instead, a line printer was the primary output device, while the monitor was limited to keeping track of the program’s operation.[citation needed]

As technology developed engineers realized that the output of a CRT display was more flexible than a panel of light bulbs and eventually, by giving control of what was displayed in the program itself, the monitor itself became a powerful output device in its own right.[citation needed]

Computer monitors were formerly known as visual display units (VDU), but this term had mostly fallen out of use by the 1990s.

Rotating Monitor

Further information: Comparison of CRT, LCD, Plasma, and OLED and History of display technology

Multiple technologies have been used for computer monitors. Until the 21st century most used cathode ray tubes but they have largely been superseded by LCD monitors.

Vertical Monitors

Main article: Cathode ray tube

The first computer monitors used cathode ray tubes (CRTs). Prior to the advent of home computers in the late 1970s, it was common for a video display terminal (VDT) using a CRT to be physically integrated with a keyboard and other components of the system in a single large chassis. The display was monochrome and far less sharp and detailed than on a modern flat-panel monitor, necessitating the use of relatively large text and severely limiting the amount of information that could be displayed at one time. High-resolution CRT displays were developed for the specialized military, industrial and scientific applications but they were far too costly for general use.

best vertical monitors 2020

Some of the earliest home computers (such as the TRS-80 and Commodore PET) were limited to monochrome CRT displays, but color display capability was already a standard feature of the pioneering Apple II, introduced in 1977, and the specialty of the more graphically sophisticated Atari 800, introduced in 1979. Either computer could be connected to the antenna terminals of an ordinary color TV set or used with a purpose-made CRT color monitor for optimum resolution and color quality. Lagging several years behind, in 1981 IBM introduced the Color Graphics Adapter, which could display four colors with a resolution of 320 x 200 pixels, or it could produce 640 x 200 pixels with two colors. In 1984 IBM introduced the Enhanced Graphics Adapter which was capable of producing 16 colors and had a resolution of 640 x 350.[2]

best vertical monitors 2020

By the end of the 1980s color CRT monitors that could clearly display 1024 x 768 pixels were widely available and increasingly affordable. During the following decade, maximum display resolutions gradually increased and prices continued to fall. CRT technology remained dominant in the PC monitor market into the new millennium partly because it was cheaper to produce and offered to view angles close to 180 degrees.[3] CRTs still offer some image quality advantages[clarification needed] over LCDs but improvements to the latter have made them much less obvious. The dynamic range of early LCD panels was very poor, and although text and other motionless graphics were sharper than on a CRT, an LCD characteristic known as pixel lag caused moving graphics to appear noticeably smeared and blurry.

Vertical Monitors

Main articles: Liquid-crystal display and Thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal display

best vertical monitors 2020

There are multiple technologies that have been used to implement liquid crystal displays (LCD). Throughout the 1990s, the primary use of LCD technology as computer monitors was in laptops where the lower power consumption, lighter weight, and smaller physical size of LCDs justified the higher price versus a CRT. Commonly, the same laptop would be offered with an assortment of display options at increasing price points: (active or passive) monochrome, passive color, or active matrix color (TFT). As volume and manufacturing capability have improved, the monochrome and passive color technologies were dropped from most product lines.

best vertical monitors 2020

TFT-LCD is a variant of LCD which is now the dominant technology used for computer monitors.[4]

best vertical monitors 2020

The first standalone LCDs appeared in the mid-1990s selling for high prices. As prices declined over a period of years they became more popular, and by 1997 were competing with CRT monitors. Among the first desktop LCD computer monitors was the Eizo L66 in the mid-1990s, the Apple Studio Display in 1998, and the Apple Cinema Display in 1999. In 2003, TFT-LCDs outsold CRTs for the first time, becoming the primary technology used for computer monitors.[3] The main advantages of LCDs over CRT displays are that LCDs consume less power, take up much less space, and are considerably lighter. The now common active matrix TFT-LCD technology also has less flickering than CRTs, which reduces eye strain.[5] On the other hand, CRT monitors have superior contrast, have a superior response time, are able to use multiple screen resolutions natively, and there is no discernible flicker if the refresh rate[6] is set to a sufficiently high value. LCD monitors have now very high temporal accuracy and can be used for vision research.[7]

best vertical monitors 2020

High dynamic range (HDR)[6] has been implemented into high-end LCD monitors to improve color accuracy. Since around the late 2000s, widescreen LCD monitors have become popular, in part due to television seriesmotion pictures and video games transitioning to high-definition (HD), which makes standard-width monitors unable to display them correctly as they either stretch or crop HD content. These types of monitors may also display it in the proper width, however they usually fill the extra space at the top and bottom of the image with black bars. Other advantages of widescreen monitors over standard-width monitors is that they make work more productive by displaying more of a user’s documents and images, and allow displaying toolbars with documents. They also have a larger viewing area, with a typical widescreen monitor having a 16:9 aspect ratio, compared to the 4:3 aspect ratio of a typical standard-width monitor.

Rotating Monitor

computer is a machine that can be instructed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically via computer programming. Modern computers have the ability to follow generalized sets of operations, called programs. These programs enable computers to perform an extremely wide range of tasks. A “complete” computer including the hardware, the operating system (main software), and peripheral equipment required and used for “full” operation can be referred to as a computer system. This term may as well be used for a group of computers that are connected and work together, in particular a computer network or computer cluster.

Rotating Monitor

Computers are used as control systems for a wide variety of industrial and consumer devices. This includes simple special purpose devices like microwave ovens and remote controls, factory devices such as industrial robots and computer-aided design, and also general purpose devices like personal computers and mobile devices such as smartphones. The Internet is run on computers and it connects hundreds of millions of other computers and their users.

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Early computers were only conceived as calculating devices. Since ancient times, simple manual devices like the abacus aided people in doing calculations. Early in the Industrial Revolution, some mechanical devices were built to automate long tedious tasks, such as guiding patterns for looms. More sophisticated electrical machines did specialized analog calculations in the early 20th century.

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The first digital electronic calculating machines were developed during World War II. The first semiconductor transistors in the late 1940s were followed by the silicon-based MOSFET (MOS transistor) and monolithic integrated circuit (IC) chip technologies in the late 1950s, leading to the microprocessor and the microcomputer revolution in the 1970s. The speed, power and versatility of computers have been increasing dramatically ever since then, with MOS transistor counts increasing at a rapid pace (as predicted by Moore’s law), leading to the Digital Revolution during the late 20th to early 21st centuries.

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Conventionally, a modern computer consists of at least one processing element, typically a central processing unit (CPU) in the form of a metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) microprocessor, along with some type of computer memory, typically MOS semiconductor memory chips. The processing element carries out arithmetic and logical operations, and a sequencing and control unit can change the order of operations in response to stored information

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Peripheral devices include input devices (keyboards, mice, joystick, etc.), output devices (monitor screens, printers, etc.), and input/output devices that perform both functions (e.g., the 2000s-era touchscreen). Peripheral devices allow information to be retrieved from an external source and they enable the result of operations to be saved and retrieved.

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A human computer, with microscope and calculator, 1952

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According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first known use of the word “computer” was in 1613 in a book called The Yong Mans Gleanings by English writer Richard Braithwait: “I haue [sic] read the truest computer of Times, and the best Arithmetician that euer [sic] breathed, and he reduceth thy dayes into a short number.” This usage of the term referred to a human computer, a person who carried out calculations or computations. The word continued with the same meaning until the middle of the 20th century. During the latter part of this period women were often hired as computers because they could be paid less than their male counterparts.[1] By 1943, most human computers were women.[2]

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The Online Etymology Dictionary gives the first attested use of “computer” in the 1640s, meaning “one who calculates”; this is an “agent noun from compute (v.)”. The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the use of the term to mean “‘calculating machine’ (of any type) is from 1897.” The Online Etymology Dictionary indicates that the “modern use” of the term, to mean “programmable digital electronic computer” dates from “1945 under this name; [in a] theoretical [sense] from 1937, as Turing machine“.[3]

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Main article: History of computing hardware

Pre-20th century

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The Ishango bone, a bone tool dating back to prehistoric Africa.

Devices have been used to aid computation for thousands of years, mostly using one-to-one correspondence with fingers. The earliest counting device was probably a form of tally stick. Later record keeping aids throughout the Fertile Crescent included calculi (clay spheres, cones, etc.) which represented counts of items, probably livestock or grains, sealed in hollow unbaked clay containers.[4][5] The use of counting rods is one example.

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The Chinese suanpan (算盘). The number represented on this abacus is 6,302,715,408.

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The abacus was initially used for arithmetic tasks. The Roman abacus was developed from devices used in Babylonia as early as 2400 BC. Since then, many other forms of reckoning boards or tables have been invented. In a medieval European counting house, a checkered cloth would be placed on a table, and markers moved around on it according to certain rules, as an aid to calculating sums of money.[6]

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The Antikythera mechanism, dating back to ancient Greece circa 150–100 BC, is an early analog computing device.

The Antikythera mechanism is believed to be the earliest mechanical analog “computer”, according to Derek J. de Solla Price.[7] It was designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was discovered in 1901 in the Antikythera wreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, between Kythera and Crete, and has been dated to c. 100 BC. Devices of a level of complexity comparable to that of the Antikythera mechanism would not reappear until a thousand years later.

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Many mechanical aids to calculation and measurement were constructed for astronomical and navigation use. The planisphere was a star chart invented by Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī in the early 11th century.[8] The astrolabe was invented in the Hellenistic world in either the 1st or 2nd centuries BC and is often attributed to Hipparchus. A combination of the planisphere and dioptra, the astrolabe was effectively an analog computer capable of working out several different kinds of problems in spherical astronomy.

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An astrolabe incorporating a mechanical calendar computer[9][10] and gear-wheels was invented by Abi Bakr of IsfahanPersia in 1235.[11] Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī invented the first mechanical geared lunisolar calendar astrolabe,[12] an early fixed-wired knowledge processing machine[13] with a gear train and gear-wheels,[14] c. 1000 AD.

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The sector, a calculating instrument used for solving problems in proportion, trigonometry, multiplication and division, and for various functions, such as squares and cube roots, was developed in the late 16th century and found application in gunnery, surveying and navigation.

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The planimeter was a manual instrument to calculate the area of a closed figure by tracing over it with a mechanical linkage.

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slide rule.

The slide rule was invented around 1620–1630, shortly after the publication of the concept of the logarithm. It is a hand-operated analog computer for doing multiplication and division. As slide rule development progressed, added scales provided reciprocals, squares and square roots, cubes and cube roots, as well as transcendental functions such as logarithms and exponentials, circular and hyperbolic trigonometry and other functions. Slide rules with special scales are still used for quick performance of routine calculations, such as the E6B circular slide rule used for time and distance calculations on light aircraft.

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In the 1770s, Pierre Jaquet-Droz, a Swiss watchmaker, built a mechanical doll (automaton) that could write holding a quill pen. By switching the number and order of its internal wheels different letters, and hence different messages, could be produced. In effect, it could be mechanically “programmed” to read instructions. Along with two other complex machines, the doll is at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire of NeuchâtelSwitzerland, and still operates.[15]

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In 1831–1835, mathematician and engineer Giovanni Plana devised a Perpetual Calendar machine, which, though a system of pulleys and cylinders and over, could predict the perpetual calendar for every year from AD 0 (that is, 1 BC) to AD 4000, keeping track of leap years and varying day length. The tide-predicting machine invented by Sir William Thomson in 1872 was of great utility to navigation in shallow waters. It used a system of pulleys and wires to automatically calculate predicted tide levels for a set period at a particular location.

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The differential analyser, a mechanical analog computer designed to solve differential equations by integration, used wheel-and-disc mechanisms to perform the integration. In 1876, Lord Kelvin had already discussed the possible construction of such calculators, but he had been stymied by the limited output torque of the ball-and-disk integrators.[16] 

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In a differential analyzer, the output of one integrator drove the input of the next integrator, or a graphing output. The torque amplifier was the advance that allowed these machines to work. Starting in the 1920s, Vannevar Bush and others developed mechanical differential analyzers.

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A portion of Babbage’s Difference engine.

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Charles Babbage, an English mechanical engineer and polymath, originated the concept of a programmable computer. Considered the “father of the computer“,[17] he conceptualized and invented the first mechanical computer in the early 19th century. After working on his revolutionary difference engine, designed to aid in navigational calculations, in 1833 he realized that a much more general design, an Analytical Engine, was possible.

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The input of programs and data was to be provided to the machine via punched cards, a method being used at the time to direct mechanical looms such as the Jacquard loom. For output, the machine would have a printer, a curve plotter and a bell. The machine would also be able to punch numbers onto cards to be read in later. The Engine incorporated an arithmetic logic unitcontrol flow in the form of conditional branching and loops, and integrated memory, making it the first design for a general-purpose computer that could be described in modern terms as Turing-complete.[18][19]

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The machine was about a century ahead of its time. All the parts for his machine had to be made by hand – this was a major problem for a device with thousands of parts. Eventually, the project was dissolved with the decision of the British Government to cease funding.

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Babbage’s failure to complete the analytical engine can be chiefly attributed to political and financial difficulties as well as his desire to develop an increasingly sophisticated computer and to move ahead faster than anyone else could follow. Nevertheless, his son, Henry Babbage, completed a simplified version of the analytical engine’s computing unit (the mill) in 1888. He gave a successful demonstration of its use in computing tables in 1906.

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Main article: Analog computer

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Sir William Thomson‘s third tide-predicting machine design, 1879–81

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During the first half of the 20th century, many scientific computing needs were met by increasingly sophisticated analog computers, which used a direct mechanical or electrical model of the problem as a basis for computation.

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However, these were not programmable and generally lacked the versatility and accuracy of modern digital computers.[20] The first modern analog computer was a tide-predicting machine, invented by Sir William Thomson in 1872. The differential analyser, a mechanical analog computer designed to solve differential equations by integration using wheel-and-disc mechanisms, was conceptualized in 1876 by James Thomson, the brother of the more famous Lord Kelvin.[16]

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The art of mechanical analog computing reached its zenith with the differential analyzer, built by H. L. Hazen and Vannevar Bush at MIT starting in 1927. This built on the mechanical integrators of James Thomson and the torque amplifiers invented by H. W. Nieman. A dozen of these devices were built before their obsolescence became obvious. By the 1950s, the success of digital electronic computers had spelled the end for most analog computing machines, but analog computers remained in use during the 1950s in some specialized applications such as education (control systems) and aircraft (slide rule).

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Electromechanical

By 1938, the United States Navy had developed an electromechanical analog computer small enough to use aboard a submarine. This was the Torpedo Data Computer, which used trigonometry to solve the problem of firing a torpedo at a moving target. During World War II similar devices were developed in other countries as well.

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Replica of Zuse‘s Z3, the first fully automatic, digital (electromechanical) computer.

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Early digital computers were electromechanical; electric switches drove mechanical relays to perform the calculation. These devices had a low operating speed and were eventually superseded by much faster all-electric computers, originally using vacuum tubes. The Z2, created by German engineer Konrad Zuse in 1939, was one of the earliest examples of an electromechanical relay computer.[21]

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In 1941, Zuse followed his earlier machine up with the Z3, the world’s first working electromechanical programmable, fully automatic digital computer.[22][23] The Z3 was built with 2000 relays, implementing a 22 bit word length that operated at a clock frequency of about 5–10 Hz.[24] 

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Program code was supplied on punched film while data could be stored in 64 words of memory or supplied from the keyboard. It was quite similar to modern machines in some respects, pioneering numerous advances such as floating point numbers. Rather than the harder-to-implement decimal system (used in Charles Babbage‘s earlier design), using a binary system meant that Zuse’s machines were easier to build and potentially more reliable, given the technologies available at that time.[25] The Z3 was not itself a universal computer but could be extended to be Turing complete.[26][27]

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Vacuum tubes and digital electronic circuits

Purely electronic circuit elements soon replaced their mechanical and electromechanical equivalents, at the same time that digital calculation replaced analog.

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The engineer Tommy Flowers, working at the Post Office Research Station in London in the 1930s, began to explore the possible use of electronics for the telephone exchange.

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Experimental equipment that he built in 1934 went into operation five years later, converting a portion of the telephone exchange network into an electronic data processing system, using thousands of vacuum tubes.[20]

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 In the US, John Vincent Atanasoff and Clifford E. Berry of Iowa State University developed and tested the Atanasoff–Berry Computer (ABC) in 1942,[28] the first “automatic electronic digital computer”.[29] 

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This design was also all-electronic and used about 300 vacuum tubes, with capacitors fixed in a mechanically rotating drum for memory.[30]

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Colossus, the first electronic digital programmable computing device, was used to break German ciphers during World War II.

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During World War II, the British at Bletchley Park achieved a number of successes at breaking encrypted German military communications. The German encryption machine, Enigma, was first attacked with the help of the electro-mechanical bombes which were often run by women.[31][32] 

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To crack the more sophisticated German Lorenz SZ 40/42 machine, used for high-level Army communications, Max Newman and his colleagues commissioned Flowers to build the Colossus.[30]

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 He spent eleven months from early February 1943 designing and building the first Colossus.[33] After a functional test in December 1943, Colossus was shipped to Bletchley Park, where it was delivered on 18 January 1944[34] and attacked its first message on 5 February.[30]

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Colossus was the world’s first electronic digital programmable computer.[20] 

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It used a large number of valves (vacuum tubes).

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It had paper-tape input and was capable of being configured to perform a variety of boolean logical operations on its data, but it was not Turing-complete. Nine Mk II Colossi were built (The Mk I was converted to a Mk II making ten machines in total).

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Colossus Mark I contained 1,500 thermionic valves (tubes), but Mark II with 2,400 valves, was both 5 times faster and simpler to operate than Mark I, greatly speeding the decoding process.[35][36]

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ENIAC was the first electronic, Turing-complete device, and performed ballistics trajectory calculations for the United States Army.

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The ENIAC[37] (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was the first electronic programmable computer built in the U.S. Although the ENIAC was similar to the Colossus, it was much faster, more flexible, and it was Turing-complete.

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Like the Colossus, a “program” on the ENIAC was defined by the states of its patch cables and switches, a far cry from the stored program electronic machines that came later. Once a program was written, it had to be mechanically set into the machine with manual resetting of plugs and switches. The programmers of the ENIAC were six women, often known collectively as the “ENIAC girls”.[38][39]

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It combined the high speed of electronics with the ability to be programmed for many complex problems. It could add or subtract 5000 times a second, a thousand times faster than any other machine. It also had modules to multiply, divide, and square root. High speed memory was limited to 20 words (about 80 bytes).

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Built under the direction of John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert at the University of Pennsylvania, ENIAC’s development and construction lasted from 1943 to full operation at the end of 1945.

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The machine was huge, weighing 30 tons, using 200 kilowatts of electric power and contained over 18,000 vacuum tubes, 1,500 relays, and hundreds of thousands of resistors, capacitors, and inductors.[40]

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Concept of modern computer

The principle of the modern computer was proposed by Alan Turing in his seminal 1936 paper,[41] On Computable Numbers. Turing proposed a simple device that he called “Universal Computing machine” and that is now known as a universal Turing machine.

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He proved that such a machine is capable of computing anything that is computable by executing instructions (program) stored on tape, allowing the machine to be programmable. The fundamental concept of Turing’s design is the stored program, where all the instructions for computing are stored in memory. Von Neumann acknowledged that the central concept of the modern computer was due to this paper.[42] 

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Turing machines are to this day a central object of study in theory of computation. Except for the limitations imposed by their finite memory stores, modern computers are said to be Turing-complete, which is to say, they have algorithm execution capability equivalent to a universal Turing machine.

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Main article: Stored-program computer

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A section of the Manchester Baby, the first electronic stored-program computer

Early computing machines had fixed programs. Changing its function required the re-wiring and re-structuring of the machine.[30] With the proposal of the stored-program computer this changed. A stored-program computer includes by design an instruction set and can store in memory a set of instructions (a program) that details the computation.

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The theoretical basis for the stored-program computer was laid by Alan Turing in his 1936 paper. In 1945, Turing joined the National Physical Laboratory and began work on developing an electronic stored-program digital computer. His 1945 report “Proposed Electronic Calculator” was the first specification for such a device. John von Neumann at the University of Pennsylvania also circulated his First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC in 1945.[20]

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The Manchester Baby was the world’s first stored-program computer. It was built at the Victoria University of Manchester by Frederic C. WilliamsTom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill, and ran its first program on 21 June 1948.[43] It was designed as a testbed for the Williams tube, the first random-access digital storage device.[44] Although the computer was considered “small and primitive” by the standards of its time, it was the first working machine to contain all of the elements essential to a modern electronic computer.[45] As soon as the Baby had demonstrated the feasibility of its design, a project was initiated at the university to develop it into a more usable computer, the Manchester Mark 1Grace Hopper was the first person to develop a compiler for programming language.[2]

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The Mark 1 in turn quickly became the prototype for the Ferranti Mark 1, the world’s first commercially available general-purpose computer.[46] Built by Ferranti, it was delivered to the University of Manchester in February 1951. At least seven of these later machines were delivered between 1953 and 1957, one of them to Shell labs in Amsterdam.[47] In October 1947, the directors of British catering company J. Lyons & Company decided to take an active role in promoting the commercial development of computers. The LEO I computer became operational in April 1951[48] and ran the world’s first regular routine office computer job.

Transistors

Main articles: Transistor and History of the transistor
Further information: Transistor computer and MOSFET

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Bipolar junction transistor (BJT)

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The concept of a field-effect transistor was proposed by Julius Edgar Lilienfeld in 1925. John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, while working under William Shockley at Bell Labs, built the first working transistor, the point-contact transistor, in 1947, which was followed by Shockley’s bipolar junction transistor in 1948.[49][50] From 1955 onwards, transistors replaced vacuum tubes in computer designs, giving rise to the “second generation” of computers. Compared to vacuum tubes, transistors have many advantages: they are smaller, and require less power than vacuum tubes, so give off less heat. Junction transistors were much more reliable than vacuum tubes and had longer, indefinite, service life. Transistorized computers could contain tens of thousands of binary logic circuits in a relatively compact space. However, early junction transistors were relatively bulky devices that were difficult to manufacture on a mass-production basis, which limited them to a number of specialised applications.[51]

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At the University of Manchester, a team under the leadership of Tom Kilburn designed and built a machine using the newly developed transistors instead of valves.[52] Their first transistorised computer and the first in the world, was operational by 1953, and a second version was completed there in April 1955. However, the machine did make use of valves to generate its 125 kHz clock waveforms and in the circuitry to read and write on its magnetic drum memory, so it was not the first completely transistorized computer. That distinction goes to the Harwell CADET of 1955,[53] built by the electronics division of the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell.[53][54]

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MOSFET (MOS transistor), showing gate (G), body (B), source (S) and drain (D) terminals. The gate is separated from the body by an insulating layer (pink).

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The metal–oxide–silicon field-effect transistor (MOSFET), also known as the MOS transistor, was invented by Mohamed M. Atalla and Dawon Kahng at Bell Labs in 1959.[55] It was the first truly compact transistor that could be miniaturised and mass-produced for a wide range of uses.[51] With its high scalability,[56] and much lower power consumption and higher density than bipolar junction transistors,[57] the MOSFET made it possible to build high-density integrated circuits.[58][59]

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 In addition to data processing, it also enabled the practical use of MOS transistors as memory cell storage elements, leading to the development of MOS semiconductor memory, which replaced earlier magnetic-core memory in computers.[60] The MOSFET led to the microcomputer revolution,[61] and became the driving force behind the computer revolution.[62][63] The MOSFET is the most widely used transistor in computers,[64][65] and is the fundamental building block of digital electronics.[66]

Integrated circuits

Main articles: Integrated circuit and Invention of the integrated circuit
Further information: Planar process and Microprocessor

The next great advance in computing power came with the advent of the integrated circuit (IC). The idea of the integrated circuit was first conceived by a radar scientist working for the Royal Radar Establishment of the Ministry of DefenceGeoffrey W.A. Dummer. Dummer presented the first public description of an integrated circuit at the Symposium on Progress in Quality Electronic Components in Washington, D.C. on 7 May 1952.[67]

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The first working ICs were invented by Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments and Robert Noyce at Fairchild Semiconductor.[68] Kilby recorded his initial ideas concerning the integrated circuit in July 1958, successfully demonstrating the first working integrated example on 12 September 1958.[69] In his patent application of 6 February 1959, Kilby described his new device as “a body of semiconductor material … wherein all the components of the electronic circuit are completely integrated”.[70][71] However, Kilby’s invention was a hybrid integrated circuit (hybrid IC), rather than a monolithic integrated circuit (IC) chip.[72] Kilby’s IC had external wire connections, which made it difficult to mass-produce.[73]

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Noyce also came up with his own idea of an integrated circuit half a year later than Kilby.[74] Noyce’s invention was the first true monolithic IC chip.[75][73] His chip solved many practical problems that Kilby’s had not. Produced at Fairchild Semiconductor, it was made of silicon, whereas Kilby’s chip was made of germanium. Noyce’s monolithic IC was fabricated using the planar process, developed by his colleague Jean Hoerni in early 1959. In turn, the planar process was based on the silicon surface passivation and thermal oxidation processes developed by Mohamed Atalla at Bell Labs in the late 1950s.[76][77][78]

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Modern monolithic ICs are predominantly MOS (metal-oxide-semiconductor) integrated circuits, built from MOSFETs (MOS transistors).[79] After the first MOSFET was invented by Mohamed Atalla and Dawon Kahng at Bell Labs in 1959,[80] Atalla first proposed the concept of the MOS integrated circuit in 1960, followed by Kahng in 1961, both noting that the MOS transistor’s ease of fabrication made it useful for integrated circuits.[51][81] The earliest experimental MOS IC to be fabricated was a 16-transistor chip built by Fred Heiman and Steven Hofstein at RCA in 1962.[82] General Microelectronics later introduced the first commercial MOS IC in 1964,[83] developed by Robert Norman.[82] Following the development of the self-aligned gate (silicon-gate) MOS transistor by Robert Kerwin, Donald Klein and John Sarace at Bell Labs in 1967, the first silicon-gate MOS IC with self-aligned gates was developed by Federico Faggin at Fairchild Semiconductor in 1968.[84] The MOSFET has since become the most critical device component in modern ICs.[85]

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The development of the MOS integrated circuit led to the invention of the microprocessor,[86][87] and heralded an explosion in the commercial and personal use of computers. While the subject of exactly which device was the first microprocessor is contentious, partly due to lack of agreement on the exact definition of the term “microprocessor”, it is largely undisputed that the first single-chip microprocessor was the Intel 4004,[88] designed and realized by Federico Faggin with his silicon-gate MOS IC technology,[86] along with Ted HoffMasatoshi Shima and Stanley Mazor at Intel.[89][90] In the early 1970s, MOS IC technology enabled the integration of more than 10,000 transistors on a single chip.[59]

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System on a Chip (SoCs) are complete computers on a microchip (or chip) the size of a coin.[91] They may or may not have integrated RAM and flash memory. If not integrated, The RAM is usually placed directly above (known as Package on package) or below (on the opposite side of the circuit board) the SoC, and the flash memory is usually placed right next to the SoC, this all done to improve data transfer speeds, as the data signals don’t have to travel long distances. Since ENIAC in 1945, computers have advanced enormously, with modern SoCs (Such as the Snapdragon 865) being the size of a coin while also being hundreds of thousands of times more powerful than ENIAC, integrating billions of transistors, and consuming only a few watts of power.

Control unit

Main articles: CPU design and Control unit

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Diagram showing how a particular MIPS architecture instruction would be decoded by the control system

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The control unit (often called a control system or central controller) manages the computer’s various components; it reads and interprets (decodes) the program instructions, transforming them into control signals that activate other parts of the computer.[95] Control systems in advanced computers may change the order of execution of some instructions to improve performance.

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A key component common to all CPUs is the program counter, a special memory cell (a register) that keeps track of which location in memory the next instruction is to be read from.[96]

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The control system’s function is as follows—note that this is a simplified description, and some of these steps may be performed concurrently or in a different order depending on the type of CPU:

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  1. Read the code for the next instruction from the cell indicated by the program counter.
  2. Decode the numerical code for the instruction into a set of commands or signals for each of the other systems.
  3. Increment the program counter so it points to the next instruction.
  4. Read whatever data the instruction requires from cells in memory (or perhaps from an input device). The location of this required data is typically stored within the instruction code.
  5. Provide the necessary data to an ALU or register.
  6. If the instruction requires an ALU or specialized hardware to complete, instruct the hardware to perform the requested operation.
  7. Write the result from the ALU back to a memory location or to a register or perhaps an output device.
  8. Jump back to step (1).

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Since the program counter is (conceptually) just another set of memory cells, it can be changed by calculations done in the ALU. Adding 100 to the program counter would cause the next instruction to be read from a place 100 locations further down the program. Instructions that modify the program counter are often known as “jumps” and allow for loops (instructions that are repeated by the computer) and often conditional instruction execution (both examples of control flow).

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The sequence of operations that the control unit goes through to process an instruction is in itself like a short computer program, and indeed, in some more complex CPU designs, there is another yet smaller computer called a microsequencer, which runs a microcode program that causes all of these events to happen.

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Main articles: Central processing unit and Microprocessor

The control unit, ALU, and registers are collectively known as a central processing unit (CPU). Early CPUs were composed of many separate components. Since the 1970s, CPUs have typically been constructed on a single MOS integrated circuit chip called a microprocessor.

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Main article: Arithmetic logic unit

The ALU is capable of performing two classes of operations: arithmetic and logic.[97] The set of arithmetic operations that a particular ALU supports may be limited to addition and subtraction, or might include multiplication, division, trigonometry functions such as sine, cosine, etc., and square roots. Some can only operate on whole numbers (integers) while others use floating point to represent real numbers, albeit with limited precision. However, any computer that is capable of performing just the simplest operations can be programmed to break down the more complex operations into simple steps that it can perform. Therefore, any computer can be programmed to perform any arithmetic operation—although it will take more time to do so if its ALU does not directly support the operation. An ALU may also compare numbers and return boolean truth values (true or false) depending on whether one is equal to, greater than or less than the other (“is 64 greater than 65?”). Logic operations involve Boolean logicANDORXOR, and NOT. These can be useful for creating complicated conditional statements and processing boolean logic.

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Superscalar computers may contain multiple ALUs, allowing them to process several instructions simultaneously.[98] Graphics processors and computers with SIMD and MIMD features often contain ALUs that can perform arithmetic on vectors and matrices.

Memory

Main articles: Computer memory and Computer data storage

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Portrait Monitor

Portrait Monitor

Vertical Computer Monitor

Magnetic-core memory (using magnetic cores) was the computer memory of choice in the 1960s, until it was replaced by semiconductor memory (using MOS memory cells).

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A computer’s memory can be viewed as a list of cells into which numbers can be placed or read. Each cell has a numbered “address” and can store a single number. The computer can be instructed to “put the number 123 into the cell numbered 1357” or to “add the number that is in cell 1357 to the number that is in cell 2468 and put the answer into cell 1595.” The information stored in memory may represent practically anything. Letters, numbers, even computer instructions can be placed into memory with equal ease. Since the CPU does not differentiate between different types of information, it is the software’s responsibility to give significance to what the memory sees as nothing but a series of numbers.

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In almost all modern computers, each memory cell is set up to store binary numbers in groups of eight bits (called a byte). Each byte is able to represent 256 different numbers (28 = 256); either from 0 to 255 or −128 to +127. To store larger numbers, several consecutive bytes may be used (typically, two, four or eight). When negative numbers are required, they are usually stored in two’s complement notation. Other arrangements are possible, but are usually not seen outside of specialized applications or historical contexts. A computer can store any kind of information in memory if it can be represented numerically. Modern computers have billions or even trillions of bytes of memory.

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The CPU contains a special set of memory cells called registers that can be read and written to much more rapidly than the main memory area. There are typically between two and one hundred registers depending on the type of CPU. Registers are used for the most frequently needed data items to avoid having to access main memory every time data is needed. As data is constantly being worked on, reducing the need to access main memory (which is often slow compared to the ALU and control units) greatly increases the computer’s speed.

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Computer main memory comes in two principal varieties:

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RAM can be read and written to anytime the CPU commands it, but ROM is preloaded with data and software that never changes, therefore the CPU can only read from it.

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ROM is typically used to store the computer’s initial start-up instructions. In general, the contents of RAM are erased when the power to the computer is turned off, but ROM retains its data indefinitely.

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In a PC, the ROM contains a specialized program called the BIOS that orchestrates loading the computer’s operating system from the hard disk drive into RAM whenever the computer is turned on or reset.

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In embedded computers, which frequently do not have disk drives, all of the required software may be stored in ROM. Software stored in ROM is often called firmware, because it is notionally more like hardware than software. Flash memory blurs the distinction between ROM and RAM, as it retains its data when turned off but is also rewritable.

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It is typically much slower than conventional ROM and RAM however, so its use is restricted to applications where high speed is unnecessary.[99]

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In more sophisticated computers there may be one or more RAM cache memories, which are slower than registers but faster than main memory.

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Generally computers with this sort of cache are designed to move frequently needed data into the cache automatically, often without the need for any intervention on the programmer’s part.

Input/output (I/O)

Main article: Input/output

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Portrait Monitor

Portrait Monitor

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Hard disk drives are common storage devices used with computers.

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I/O is the means by which a computer exchanges information with the outside world.[100] 

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Devices that provide input or output to the computer are called peripherals.[101]

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On a typical personal computer, peripherals include input devices like the keyboard and mouse, and output devices such as the display and printer

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Hard disk drivesfloppy disk drives and optical disc drives serve as both input and output devices.

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 Computer networking is another form of I/O. I/O devices are often complex computers in their own right, with their own CPU and memory.

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graphics processing unit might contain fifty or more tiny computers that perform the calculations necessary to display 3D graphics.[citation needed] 

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Modern desktop computers contain many smaller computers that assist the main CPU in performing I/O. A 2016-era flat screen display contains its own computer circuitry.

Rotating Monitor

Main article: Computer multitasking

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While a computer may be viewed as running one gigantic program stored in its main memory, in some systems it is necessary to give the appearance of running several programs simultaneously.

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This is achieved by multitasking i.e. having the computer switch rapidly between running each program in turn.[102] 

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One means by which this is done is with a special signal called an interrupt, which can periodically cause the computer to stop executing instructions where it was and do something else instead.

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By remembering where it was executing prior to the interrupt, the computer can return to that task later.

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If several programs are running “at the same time”. then the interrupt generator might be causing several hundred interrupts per second, causing a program switch each time.

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Since modern computers typically execute instructions several orders of magnitude faster than human perception, it may appear that many programs are running at the same time even though only one is ever executing in any given instant.

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This method of multitasking is sometimes termed “time-sharing” since each program is allocated a “slice” of time in turn.[103]

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Before the era of inexpensive computers, the principal use for multitasking was to allow many people to share the same computer.

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Seemingly, multitasking would cause a computer that is switching between several programs to run more slowly, in direct proportion to the number of programs it is running, but most programs spend much of their time waiting for slow input/output devices to complete their tasks.

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If a program is waiting for the user to click on the mouse or press a key on the keyboard, then it will not take a “time slice” until the event it is waiting for has occurred.

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This frees up time for other programs to execute so that many programs may be run simultaneously without unacceptable speed loss.

Multiprocessing

Main article: Multiprocessing

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Vertical Computer Monitor

Portrait Monitor

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Cray designed many supercomputers that used multiprocessing heavily.

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Some computers are designed to distribute their work across several CPUs in a multiprocessing configuration, a technique once employed only in large and powerful machines such as supercomputersmainframe computers and servers.

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Multiprocessor and multi-core (multiple CPUs on a single integrated circuit) personal and laptop computers are now widely available, and are being increasingly used in lower-end markets as a result.

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Supercomputers in particular often have highly unique architectures that differ significantly from the basic stored-program architecture and from general purpose computers.[104]

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They often feature thousands of CPUs, customized high-speed interconnects, and specialized computing hardware.

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Such designs tend to be useful only for specialized tasks due to the large scale of program organization required to successfully utilize most of the available resources at once.

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Supercomputers usually see usage in large-scale simulationgraphics rendering, and cryptography applications, as well as with other so-called “embarrassingly parallel” tasks.

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The defining feature of modern computers which distinguishes them from all other machines is that they can be programmed.

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That is to say that some type of instructions (the program) can be given to the computer, and it will process them.

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Modern computers based on the von Neumann architecture often have machine code in the form of an imperative programming language.

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In practical terms, a computer program may be just a few instructions or extend to many millions of instructions, as do the programs for word processors and web browsers for example.

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A typical modern computer can execute billions of instructions per second (gigaflops) and rarely makes a mistake over many years of operation.

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Large computer programs consisting of several million instructions may take teams of programmers years to write, and due to the complexity of the task almost certainly contain errors.

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Main articles: Computer program and Computer programming

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best vertical monitor 2020

Replica of the Manchester Baby, the world’s first electronic stored-program computer, at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, England.

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This section applies to most common RAM machine–based computers.

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In most cases, computer instructions are simple: add one number to another, move some data from one location to another, send a message to some external device, etc.

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These instructions are read from the computer’s memory and are generally carried out (executed) in the order they were given.

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However, there are usually specialized instructions to tell the computer to jump ahead or backwards to some other place in the program and to carry on executing from there.

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These are called “jump” instructions (or branches).

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Furthermore, jump instructions may be made to happen conditionally so that different sequences of instructions may be used depending on the result of some previous calculation or some external event.

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Many computers directly support subroutines by providing a type of jump that “remembers” the location it jumped from and another instruction to return to the instruction following that jump instruction.

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Program execution might be likened to reading a book.

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While a person will normally read each word and line in sequence, they may at times jump back to an earlier place in the text or skip sections that are not of interest.

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Similarly, a computer may sometimes go back and repeat the instructions in some section of the program over and over again until some internal condition is met. This is called the flow of control within the program and it is what allows the computer to perform tasks repeatedly without human intervention.

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Comparatively, a person using a pocket calculator can perform a basic arithmetic operation such as adding two numbers with just a few button presses.

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But to add together all of the numbers from 1 to 1,000 would take thousands of button presses and a lot of time, with a near certainty of making a mistake.

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On the other hand, a computer may be programmed to do this with just a few simple instructions. The following example is written in the MIPS assembly language:

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  begin:
  addi $8, $0, 0           # initialize sum to 0
  addi $9, $0, 1           # set first number to add = 1
  loop:
  slti $10, $9, 1000       # check if the number is less than 1000
  beq $10, $0, finish      # if odd number is greater than n then exit
  add $8, $8, $9           # update sum
  addi $9, $9, 1           # get next number
  j loop                   # repeat the summing process
  finish:
  add $2, $8, $0           # put sum in output register

Once told to run this program, the computer will perform the repetitive addition task without further human intervention. It will almost never make a mistake and a modern PC can complete the task in a fraction of a second.

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In most computers, individual instructions are stored as machine code with each instruction being given a unique number (its operation code or opcode for short).

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The command to add two numbers together would have one opcode; the command to multiply them would have a different opcode, and so on.

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The simplest computers are able to perform any of a handful of different instructions; the more complex computers have several hundred to choose from, each with a unique numerical code. Since the computer’s memory is able to store numbers, it can also store the instruction codes.

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This leads to the important fact that entire programs (which are just lists of these instructions) can be represented as lists of numbers and can themselves be manipulated inside the computer in the same way as numeric data.

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The fundamental concept of storing programs in the computer’s memory alongside the data they operate on is the crux of the von Neumann, or stored program[citation needed], architecture.

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In some cases, a computer might store some or all of its program in memory that is kept separate from the data it operates on. This is called the Harvard architecture after the Harvard Mark I computer.

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Modern von Neumann computers display some traits of the Harvard architecture in their designs, such as in CPU caches.

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While it is possible to write computer programs as long lists of numbers (machine language) and while this technique was used with many early computers,[105] it is extremely tedious and potentially error-prone to do so in practice, especially for complicated programs.

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Instead, each basic instruction can be given a short name that is indicative of its function and easy to remember – a mnemonic such as ADD, SUB, MULT or JUMP. These mnemonics are collectively known as a computer’s assembly language. Converting programs written in assembly language into something the computer can actually understand (machine language) is usually done by a computer program called an assembler.

Rotating Monitor

Rotating Monitor

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A 1970s punched card containing one line from a Fortran program. The card reads: “Z(1) = Y + W(1)” and is labeled “PROJ039” for identification purposes.

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Main article: Programming language

Programming languages provide various ways of specifying programs for computers to run. Unlike natural languages, programming languages are designed to permit no ambiguity and to be concise. They are purely written languages and are often difficult to read aloud. They are generally either translated into machine code by a compiler or an assembler before being run, or translated directly at run time by an interpreter. Sometimes programs are executed by a hybrid method of the two techniques.

Low-level languages

Main article: Low-level programming language

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Machine languages and the assembly languages that represent them (collectively termed low-level programming languages) are generally unique to the particular architecture of a computer’s central processing unit (CPU). For instance, an ARM architecture CPU (such as may be found in a smartphone or a hand-held videogame) cannot understand the machine language of an x86 CPU that might be in a PC.[106] Historically a significant number of other cpu architectures were created and saw extensive use, notably including the MOS Technology 6502 and 6510 in addition to the Zilog Z80.

High-level languages

Main article: High-level programming language

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Although considerably easier than in machine language, writing long programs in assembly language is often difficult and is also error prone. Therefore, most practical programs are written in more abstract high-level programming languages that are able to express the needs of the programmer more conveniently (and thereby help reduce programmer error). High level languages are usually “compiled” into machine language (or sometimes into assembly language and then into machine language) using another computer program called a compiler.[107] 

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Technology (“science of craft”, from Greek τέχνηtechne, “art, skill, cunning of hand”; and -λογία-logia[2]) is the sum of techniquesskillsmethods, and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation. Technology can be the knowledge of techniques, processes, and the like, or it can be embedded in machines to allow for operation without detailed knowledge of their workings. Systems (e.g. machines) applying technology by taking an input, changing it according to the system’s use, and then producing an outcome are referred to as technology systems or technological systems.

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The simplest form of technology is the development and use of basic tools.

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The prehistoric discovery of how to control fire and the later Neolithic Revolution increased the available sources of food, and the invention of the wheel helped humans to travel in and control their environment.

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Developments in historic times, including the printing press, the telephone, and the Internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale.

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Technology has many effects. It has helped develop more advanced economies (including today’s global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class.

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Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products known as pollution and deplete natural resources to the detriment of Earth’s environment.

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Innovations have always influenced the values of a society and raised new questions in the ethics of technology. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, and the challenges of bioethics.

Definition and usage

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Rotatable Monitor

The spread of paper and printing to the West, as in this printing press, helped scientists and politicians communicate their ideas easily, leading to the Age of Enlightenment; an example of technology as cultural force.

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The use of the term “technology” has changed significantly over the last 200 years.

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Before the 20th century, the term was uncommon in English, and it was used either to refer to the description or study of the useful arts[3] or to allude to technical education, as in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (chartered in 1861).[4]

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The term “technology” rose to prominence in the 20th century in connection with the Second Industrial Revolution.

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The term’s meanings changed in the early 20th century when American social scientists, beginning with Thorstein Veblen, translated ideas from the German concept of Technik into “technology.” In German and other European languages, a distinction exists between technik and technologie that is absent in English, which usually translates both terms as “technology.”

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By the 1930s, “technology” referred not only to the study of the industrial arts but to the industrial arts themselves.[5]

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In 1937, the American sociologist Read Bain wrote that “technology includes all tools, machines, utensils, weapons, instruments, housing, clothing, communicating and transporting devices and the skills by which we produce and use them.”[6]

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Bain’s definition remains common among scholars today, especially social scientists.

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Scientists and engineers usually prefer to define technology as applied science, rather than as the things that people make and use.[7] 

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More recently, scholars have borrowed from European philosophers of “technique” to extend the meaning of technology to various forms of instrumental reason, as in Foucault‘s work on technologies of the self (techniques de soi).

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Dictionaries and scholars have offered a variety of definitions. The Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary offers a definition of the term: “the use of science in industry, engineering, etc., to invent useful things or to solve problems” and “a machine, piece of equipment, method, etc., that is created by technology.”

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[8] Ursula Franklin, in her 1989 “Real World of Technology” lecture, gave another definition of the concept; it is “practice, the way we do things around here.”[9] 

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The term is often used to imply a specific field of technology, or to refer to high technology or just consumer electronics, rather than technology as a whole.[10] Bernard Stiegler, in Technics and Time, 1, defines technology in two ways: as “the pursuit of life by means other than life,” and as “organized inorganic matter.”[11]

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Technology can be most broadly defined as the entities, both material and immaterial, created by the application of mental and physical effort in order to achieve some value.

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In this usage, technology refers to tools and machines that may be used to solve real-world problems.

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It is a far-reaching term that may include simple tools, such as a crowbar or wooden spoon, or more complex machines, such as a space station or particle accelerator.

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Tools and machines need not be material; virtual technology, such as computer software and business methods, fall under this definition of technology.[12] 

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W. Brian Arthur defines technology in a similarly broad way as “a means to fulfill a human purpose.”[13]

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The word “technology” can also be used to refer to a collection of techniques.

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In this context, it is the current state of humanity’s knowledge of how to combine resources to produce desired products, to solve problems, fulfill needs, or satisfy wants; it includes technical methods, skills, processes, techniques, tools and raw materials.

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When combined with another term, such as “medical technology” or “space technology,” it refers to the state of the respective field’s knowledge and tools. “State-of-the-art technology” refers to the high technology available to humanity in any field.

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Monitor rotates

The invention of integrated circuits and the microprocessor (here, an Intel 4004 chip from 1971) led to the modern computer revolution.

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Technology can be viewed as an activity that forms or changes culture.[14] Additionally, technology is the application of mathematics, science, and the arts for the benefit of life as it is known.

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A modern example is the rise of communication technology, which has lessened barriers to human interaction and as a result has helped spawn new subcultures; the rise of cyberculture has at its basis the development of the Internet and the computer.[15] 

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Not all technology enhances culture in a creative way; technology can also help facilitate political oppression and war via tools such as guns. As a cultural activity, technology predates both science and engineering, each of which formalize some aspects of technological endeavor.

Science, engineering, and technology

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Antoine Lavoisier experimenting with combustion generated by amplified sun light

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The distinction between science, engineering, and technology is not always clear. Science is systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.[16]

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If you are looking for a rotatable monitor, listen up.

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The best rotatable monitor can be found here in our list. Technologies are not usually exclusively products of science, because they have to satisfy requirements such as utilityusability, and safety.[17]

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Engineering is the goal-oriented process of designing and making tools and systems to exploit natural phenomena for practical human means, often (but not always) using results and techniques from science.

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The development of technology may draw upon many fields of knowledge, including scientific, engineering, mathematicallinguistic, and historical knowledge, to achieve some practical result.

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Technology is often a consequence of science and engineering, although technology as a human activity precedes the two fields. For example, science might study the flow of electrons in electrical conductors by using already-existing tools and knowledge.

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This new-found knowledge may then be used by engineers to create new tools and machines such as semiconductorscomputers, and other forms of advanced technology.

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The vertical monitor for coding is great. In this sense, scientists and engineers may both be considered technologists; the three fields are often considered as one for the purposes of research and reference.[18]

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The exact relations between science and technology, in particular, have been debated by scientists, historians, and policymakers in the late 20th century, in part because the debate can inform the funding of basic and applied science.

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In the immediate wake of World War II, for example, it was widely considered in the United States that technology was simply “applied science” and that to fund basic science was to reap technological results in due time.

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An articulation of this philosophy could be found explicitly in Vannevar Bush‘s treatise on postwar science policy, Science – The Endless Frontier: “New products, new industries, and more jobs require continuous additions to knowledge of the laws of nature …

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This essential new knowledge can be obtained only through basic scientific research.”[19]

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 In the late-1960s, however, this view came under direct attack, leading towards initiatives to fund science for specific tasks (initiatives resisted by the scientific community). The issue remains contentious, though most analysts resist the model that technology is a result of scientific research.[20][21]

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Main articles: History of technologyTimeline of electrical and electronic engineering, and Timeline of historic inventions

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Monitors that rotate 90 degrees

A primitive chopper

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Further information: Outline of prehistoric technology

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The use of tools by early humans was partly a process of discovery and of evolution. Early humans evolved from a species of foraging hominids which were already bipedal,[22] with a brain mass approximately one third of modern humans.[23] 

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Tool use remained relatively unchanged for most of early human history. Approximately 50,000 years ago, the use of tools and complex set of behaviors emerged, believed by many archaeologists to be connected to the emergence of fully modern language.[24]

Stone tools

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Monitors that rotate 90 degrees

Monitors that rotate 90 degrees

Hand axes from the Acheulian period

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Monitors that rotate 90 degrees

Clovis point, made via pressure flaking

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Hominids started using primitive stone tools millions of years ago.

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The earliest stone tools were little more than a fractured rock, but approximately 75,000 years ago,[25] pressure flaking provided a way to make much finer work.

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Main article: Control of fire by early humans

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The discovery and use of fire, a simple energy source with many profound uses, was a turning point in the technological evolution of humankind.[26]

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 The exact date of its discovery is not known; evidence of burnt animal bones at the Cradle of Humankind suggests that the domestication of fire occurred before 1 Ma;[27] scholarly consensus indicates that Homo erectus had controlled fire by between 500 and 400 ka.[28][29]

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Fire, fueled with wood and charcoal, allowed early humans to cook their food to increase its digestibility, improving its nutrient value and broadening the number of foods that could be eaten.[30]

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Other technological advances made during the Paleolithic era were clothing and shelter; the adoption of both technologies cannot be dated exactly, but they were a key to humanity’s progress.

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As the Paleolithic era progressed, dwellings became more sophisticated and more elaborate; as early as 380 ka, humans were constructing temporary wood huts.[31][32] 

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Clothing, adapted from the fur and hides of hunted animals, helped humanity expand into colder regions; humans began to migrate out of Africa by 200 ka and into other continents such as Eurasia.[33]

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Neolithic through classical antiquity (10 ka – 300 CE)

Monitors that rotate 90 degrees

Monitors that rotate 90 degrees

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An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools

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Human’s technological ascent began in earnest in what is known as the Neolithic Period (“New Stone Age”). The invention of polished stone axes was a major advance that allowed forest clearance on a large scale to create farms.

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This use of polished stone axes increased greatly in the Neolithic, but were originally used in the preceding Mesolithic in some areas such as Ireland.[34] 

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Agriculture fed larger populations, and the transition to sedentism allowed simultaneously raising more children, as infants no longer needed to be carried, as nomadic ones must. Additionally, children could contribute labor to the raising of crops more readily than they could to the hunter-gatherer economy.[35][36]

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With this increase in population and availability of labor came an increase in labor specialization.[37] 

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What triggered the progression from early Neolithic villages to the first cities, such as Uruk, and the first civilizations, such as Sumer.

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Is not specifically known; however, the emergence of increasingly hierarchical social structures and specialized labor, of trade and war amongst adjacent cultures, and the need for collective action to overcome environmental challenges such as irrigation, are all thought to have played a role.[38]

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Continuing improvements led to the furnace and bellows and provided, for the first time, the ability to smelt and forge goldcoppersilver, and lead  – native metals found in relatively pure form in nature.[39] 

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The advantages of copper tools over stone, bone, and wooden tools were quickly apparent to early humans, and native copper was probably used from near the beginning of Neolithic times (about 10 ka).[40] 

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Native copper does not naturally occur in large amounts, but copper ores are quite common and some of them produce metal easily when burned in wood or charcoal fires. Eventually, the working of metals led to the discovery of alloys such as bronze and brass (about 4000 BCE). The first uses of iron alloys such as steel dates to around 1800 BCE.[41][42]

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Philosophical debates have arisen over the use of technology, with disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it. 

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vertical monitor for coding

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liquid crystal display (LCD) computer monitor
 
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vertical monitor for coding

cathode-ray tube (CRT) computer monitor

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computer monitor is an output device that displays information in pictorial form. A monitor usually comprises the visual displaycircuitry, casing, and power supply. The display device in modern monitors is typically a thin film

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Neo-Luddismanarcho-primitivism, and similar reactionary movements criticize the pervasiveness of technology, arguing that it harms the environment and alienates people; proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and techno-progressivism view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition.

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High level languages are less related to the workings of the target computer than assembly language, and more related to the language and structure of the problem(s) to be solved by the final program.

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It is therefore often possible to use different compilers to translate the same high level language program into the machine language of many different types of computer.

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This is part of the means by which software like video games may be made available for different computer architectures such as personal computers and various video game consoles.